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Many customers want to share their stories about their experiences on one of our programs/trips—and we want to hear them! Submit a photo (or two) with a blurb about your adventure to There’s a good chance that your story will end up in one of our upcoming program guides (only with your permission, of course)!  If your story gets published, then you’ll be instantly famous (and you’ll receive a free rentals gift certificate to boot).

If you have questions or concerns about our rentals or programs, please email

We really appreciate all the support from customers and the community. Thanks for joining us on our outdoor adventures!




In the winter of 2009 my friend contacted me to ask if I would like to join her on the Advanced Cross-Country ski course with the Outdoor Centre. As a committed downhill skier I protested that I had very little experience of cross-country skiing, so we spent the day before the course practicing (which mainly seemed to involve me falling over). We turned up at Pocaterra Hut the next day, in subzero conditions (it was actually -40 degrees), and I couldn’t help but notice a tall, slim girl in our group who skied rings around me. In fact she was sent to the back of the class by the instructor for skiing too fast during one of the exercises. We chatted at lunchtime and exchanged numbers at the end of the day. Two weeks later we met to shop for tents and walking boots, which I guess turned out to be a first date, something neither of us had really expected. One thing led to another, and our shared love of the outdoors has definitely brought us closer together. Two years later we were married on the summit of Mauna Kea in Hawaii. We now have a daughter, Arizona, who has a lot to thank the Outdoor Centre for - without their programs, she wouldn’t be here!   ~ Jessie and Jon Noad


No one ever said that skiing the Canadian Berkebeiner was easy, but the 2013 Berkie offered us more even challenges than we had anticipated (and trained for).  Throughout the week the weather forecasters had agreed it would be a cool start, warming up to near zero by the end. The snow was deep and the tracksetters had done an amazing job preparing the course. Mother nature changed her mind overnight, however, and at race time the temperature hovered near zero, fresh snow was falling (plus a bit of rain)  and near gale force winds drove the snow over the ice. The intrepid skiers from the UofC Outdoor Centre took it all in our stride and made the best of an otherwise tough day of skiing. Most of us tried rewaxing a few times over the course of the race trying to find some combination of wax that wouldn’t stick too badly. One of us improved on last year’s time, and we all finished our Berkies with the loud support of our fellow skiers and fantastic coaches who were awaiting us at the finish line. The hundreds of volunteers throughout the route kept us motivated with their cheers and shouts of encouragement. Most of us were also able to stay and attend the Viking Feast that evening. The organizers of this year's Berkie did a fantastic job.  ~ Randy Hall


Jeff Buziak   HANG GLIDING

Flying a hang glider has been one of the most phenomenal experiences in my life! The feeling you get from free flight suspended below a wing by a one inch umbilical cord is thousands of feet above any other activity I have ever done. There is a feeling that overwhelms your mind, your soul and your senses that you are in a dream while you are awake. Truly Dreaming Awake! If you have the desire to experience real freedom and to fly like a bird, the University of Calgary Outdoor Centre is the catalyst that gives you the opportunity to begin your journey into flight. Their professional instruction and well laid out two stage program offers you an affordable way to see if flying hang gliding is for you. Following the instruction of Master Pilot John Janssen and his team of very friendly, supportive instructors enabled me to go from stubbing my toe on a grassy field carrying a hang glider to flying at four thousand feet before I really knew what happened. If you diligently follow their instruction and practice, practice, practice, you too could be flying with the eagles in as little time as your first year. The most difficult part of learning to fly a hang glider is initially resisting the urge to fly high because hang gliding is so exciting you can’t wait!! Thank you U of C Outdoor Centre and John Janssen for an AMAZING introduction into my new life as a hang glider pilot! ~ Jeff Buziak, Novice Hang Glider Pilot 2012



I completed the Avalanche Safety Training level 1 course with the University of Calgary during the March 24, 25 session. This is a picture of me testing the snowpack depth at the top of a slope (it was 195cm BTW). I completed the introduction to backcountry course earlier in the season and decided that I wanted to get more active in the backcountry after moving to Alberta in January. The course was thorough in teaching important safety considerations and how to properly prepare for our outings and how to be avoid problems once we got out there. The combination of in-class and field training gave us good preparation to begin our own backcountry adventures. I plan to get involved in more courses and outings in the future.    ~ Robert Johnson

Santiago Urrutia   ALL THE WAY FROM CHILE

A few weeks before arriving to Canada I found the Avalanche Safety Course level 1 course in the Outdoor Centre’s website, without thinking it twice, I signed up on my phone while being in my country and enjoyed this unforgettable experience that taught me the basic principles to perform a safe backcountry skiing. The class was taught very clearly by our instructor and the second day on the field was the culmination of a perfect weekend where I learned, practice a lot and made friends that I still share outdoor adventures with. ~ Santiago Urrutia, Pucón, Chile


After backcountry skiing in Oregon and Washington, where the avalanche risk is pretty low,  I decided I should have a better working knowledge of avalanches now that I’m in the Rockies. So, I took the AST1 course from the U of C and spent the day at Bow Summit to practice beacon location, shoveling, snow analysis, and observation.  This is me, with a view across to the Bow River valley. I look forward to more touring around my new home. ~ Paul Perrault


Malgorzata (Gosia) Gasperowicz   EXTENDED CANOE TRIPS

I have done many extended canoe trips with the Outdoor Centre. Among the most memorable were Churchill River, Bloodvein River and Fond du Lac. Each river trip is unique and deserves it’s own story, but they all have some things in common: clean and beautiful landscape and nature; being in remote wilderness (which also means no internet or cell-phone signal, so I could really be cut-off and away from unnecessary “urgencies”); great competent guides, who both take care of my safety and challenge me to improve my paddling skills; right mixture of adrenaline (class 2+, 3, 3+ rapids), of “happy misery” (head-wind days, muddy portages), and of chill-out paddling (chatting, singing, fishing, looking for wildlife or just meditating to the rhythmic sound of the paddle). Last summer’s Fond du Lac trip was especially rich in magical beauty. Leaving a lasting mixture of impressions. There was a meteorite shower at the very beginning, and then Northern Lights almost every night! Imagine the night sound of the river, dark spruce silhouettes, and watching the green spectacle of Aurora Borealis above your head while sitting on soft thick moss. It was difficult for me to go to sleep, knowing that I would have to miss part of such a show. We feasted on fresh-caught: pike, walleye, and even a grayling, and stuffed ourselves with blueberries. Blueberry fields spreading forever, each of them the size of Slovakia. We made blueberry yeast rolls and blueberry pancakes for breakfasts, and rich blueberry pies for midnight desserts. I slept just in a sleeping bag on the rock above Manitou Falls, under the aurora-lightened sky, and by the fire on a sandy beach at Black Lake (also aurora of course). And in the mornings I enjoyed fresh swims in the sparkling river (no aurora though). We saw lots of wildlife: six bears, a wolf swimming across the river, a few moose, bald eagles, and some otters. The landscape is beautiful. Sometimes quiet: green short boreal forest with it’s mosaic of mosses, reindeer lichens and berries; water swiftly running through granite rocks and sandy cliffs; big sky. Sometimes breathtaking and dramatic: roaring and boiling Manitou Falls; or several-kilometer-long Burr Falls cutting through high granite rock hills. I could continue listing impressions, but I am writing it in December, such a long time to summer and a next trip, so it’s a bit cruel. ~ Malgorzata (Gosia) Gasperowicz

James Bailies   SEA KAYAKING

We had a great time with Carter and Marshall on the Broken Islands Trip. Carter was very knowledgeable about the area that we were paddling in and liked to tell native stories illustrating some feature of the landscape or flora. I remember one of his stories about the Western Hemlock tree and why the tips of these trees droop.  I really enjoyed Carter’s relaxed, confident demeanour. His paddling skills and safety conscience mindset enhanced our enjoyment of the trip. I also had some great jam sessions with him while we were camped which made for a memorable trip.  ~ James Baillies


I started with a tandem canoe course, and then progressed to the solo course. Those courses were just so much fun that I was able to convince several friends to take the tandem ABC course, the Kootenay River trip, to do our own trip and then onto the solo course again. Each one was an adventure and we have many stories to tell and remember.  People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime and I think we have met some that will be for a lifetime!   ~ Naomi Gropp

Dan Theriault   FOUR MAN POWER

On our solo canoe course Ryan had the pleasure of saving a few of the canoes – several times!  Debts owed are debts paid. We had the fabulous time of helping start Ryan’s car by giving him a push across the parking lot.  And when it didn’t start we pushed back the other way, and finally on the third time across the parking lot he was able to get going giving us a final honk honk and wave as he was able to travel up the hill under his own power.  ~ Dan Theriault


We had the opportunity to go canoeing with U of C on 23rd of July this year. It started off as a cloudy and rainy day but proceeded to be an absolutely wonderful sunny day as noon approached. Warm, welcoming, enthusiastic instructors gave us all the knowledge about strokes needed to control the canoe and also about safety on water. The golden rules, the technique to get in and out of canoe as well as of changing positions in the canoe etc etc was taught in detail. • Finally we spend a good amount of time practising the strokes and then playing games in the lake all while seeing lots of amazing birds with their young ones swimming around us. Our 4yr old was so happy with the trip that she was a little upset when it ended, but we consoled her saying we would be coming for more canoeing very soon. Thank you so much for a nice fun-filled day. Will surely see more of us on the water soon... have a wonderful summer. ~ Naseera Koya


Jennifer Edgecombe   HIKING FITNESS SERIES

Signing up for the Hiking Fitness series with the U of C was one of the best things I did last spring. My mom and I had a lot of fun, met a bunch of fabulous people and learnt a lot about what’s truly right in our own backyard. Throughout our journey we had the pleasure of exploring with 4 different guides, all whom were amazing and knowledgeable. They all knew the trails, different plants, wildlife and safety. Not only did we learn on the actual hikes but off them as well. We had a great time sweating in the gym with our instructor who also spent a lot of time in the outdoors hiking. So he not only offered knowledge about working out in the gym, but knowledge on different techniques to use while actually outdoors exploring the trails. The workouts were tailored to fit our group for what types of hikes we were doing and the combination of the actual hikes and working out just made so much sense. Because of this outstanding journey with my incredible mom and a ton of wonderful people, I was able to bring home what I learned in the gym and on the trails and share it with my family. Since the fitness series with the U of C I’ve been able to get out and enjoy the beauty, health benefits and fun that hiking provides, not only me now, but my family as well. My two year old says “we’re going hiking!” if we head out of town. Perhaps not this winter, but come spring again, he’ll be right on the money!  ~ Jennifer Edgecombe



I joined the Calgary Outdoor Center for a few weekends to re-learn hiking as a hobby and try to get back into shape. My experience with the Calgary Outdoor Center was quite memorable. The guide that lead our group on the three hikes was very informative, made sure everyone in the group was able to keep up with the set pace, and was a great comedian for the ride to and from the trail. Over all, my experience was excellent and I will continue to learn with the Calgary Outdoor Center in the future. If you want to learn and have fun, then the Calgary Outdoor Center is for you.    ~ Scott Lange

Michelle Eiser   MOM & DAUGHTER TIME

My mom had recently retired and moved to Calgary to be closer to her grand kids.  As a way to help her get settled in her new city, I decided to sign us up for a hiking course through the Outdoor Centre at UofC in June 2011. Mom loves nothing more than to be in the mountains and I thought this would be a great way for her to meet some new people and get to know her new surroundings, while we got to spend some time together.   We started with 1 classroom session about gear and then headed out to get prepared.  We thoroughly enjoyed all 3 hikes even in the rain and snow! While I have only been on a couple hikes since, Mom has joined a couple hiking groups and is now signed up to go trekking in Nepal in October!  She has met some wonderful people and explored many new areas around Calgary - all thanks to what was just supposed to be some mom and daughter time! ~ Michelle Eiser



A bunch of friends and I participated in the Intro to Caving program and we had such a blast! This was the first time we ever went on an adventure like this as a group and this definitely kick started our future adventure trips to come, which hopefully we will be doing every year now! The program was great. We got to crawl through small holes and climb in pitch darkness. Not only was it fun, but we have learned so many new things about the importance of caves and its role in the ecosystem. It was worth every penny and on behalf of all of my friends, I thank you for providing us awesome programs through the Outdoor Center.  ~ Jenny Lau



I had just got accepted at the University of Calgary (where I am currently in my third year) and from a university in another province. It was a lot of stress for me to decide between staying in the city I grew up in and venturing outside of my comfort zone. I decided that I needed a week away from the hustle and bustle of the city, and so packed up some essentials and clothes, rented hiking gear, tents and shoes (at such an affordable price too!). My destination was beautiful Jasper, in Alberta. This one week trip in the Rockies solidified my decision to stay here in Alberta for the course of my student life. I found out that, with less than a hundred dollars of rentals and a desire to find something greater, there is nothing that can stop me from an adventure. Alberta is one big adventure, and with the help of affordable and easily accessible centre such as the Outdoor Centre, at the University of Calgary, there is nothing to stop me. Currently, I am a very happy student at the University and looking forward to another adventure!  ~ Sadie Shrestha

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